As you already know, I started my career in the technology world. My undergraduate degree is computer and systems engineering, with a concentration in manufacturing. It’s like a combination of computer programming and electrical engineering, with a little mechanical engineering for good measure.
A decent part of my career has been spent creating new things. Whether it’s a technology, a website, or a marketing strategy – I was working on some kind of new idea.
But, this is the thing. New ideas fail. They fail a lot. They’re risky.
So, how do you get technologists to take the risks that are needed in order to come up with new ideas?
There’s more than one answer to this question, but one practice is what’s known as “test and learn.” According to Wikipedia, the test and learn process is designed to answer three questions.
- What impact will the program have on key performance indicators if executed across the network or customer base?
- Will the program have a larger impact on some stores/customers than others?
- Which components of the idea are actually working?
In other words, try something. See if it works. If it doesn’t work, adjust it and try something else. A CEO of Capital One, Richard Fairbank, described the test and learn process as, “a marketing revolution that can be applied to many businesses.”
So, what if that ‘business’ were actually your ‘job search’? What if you could start a job search without knowing all the answers? Or, you could go for an interview at a company without knowing for sure if you would take a job offer, if it was given?
When it comes to job searching, there’s not just one way to do it. There’s not one perfect elevator pitch or one right resume format. Thinking there’s one right answer will leave you frustrated to say the least.
Take a little pressure off of yourself. You don’t have to get it right the first time, or every time. But, if you don’t try at all, you’ll definitely fail.
If you give something a shot and it doesn’t work the way you want it to, adjust your approach. Then, try again. And, adjust your approach again, and try again. This is a never ending process.
I truly believe a test and learn approach might free us a bit from the idea of failure. And, it would give us more time to focus on landing that next job.